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First attempt at Gingerbread!

As mentioned in a previous post, this year I decided to try my hand at gingerbread from scratch! I looked around for a few recipes online, and found this one that looked good, mostly because I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait for the dough to chill. My better half had designed a very complicated “storage container loft style” gingerbread house complete with sugar glass windows and rooftop deck, that was an interesting idea, but in practice, was a lot harder to build than he realized. The royal icing was also made from scratch, and that needed a couple of tests before we found the right consistency to hold things together.

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Yes, gumdrops with pretzel sticks did come in handy as columns after our candy canes didn’t work!

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It’s up!

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Half-decorated and reinforced loft area!

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Results: DELICIOUS! I’d definitely made gingerbread from scratch again! Eating gingerbread, watching Christmas movies, and felting (as seen in the top of the picture) was a wonderful way to spend a December Saturday!

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We did a few attempts at sugar glass, but the first was too wet, second and third, too dry (below), and then we looked at a few other recipes and realized the most successful ones were the ones with white corn syrup. I tried a couple of stores, but only found yellow – so we gave up for this year.sugar-glass1

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Christmas Baking

One of my favourite things about Christmas is baking our family’s traditional treats! Whipped Shortbread and Carrot Pudding have graced our table for as long as I can remember! Over the years we’ve added a few other treats like Breton Brittle, and Nuts ‘n Bolts, but I’ve never made gingerbread before, so I decided to add that to the mix this year too!

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oven dried strawberries: a Pinterest fail.

So, I saw this pin on Pinterest – oven drying strawberries. I knew from the photo that it would NOT look like that when it was done (no dried fruit looks like that), but I was curious enough to give it a shot and see what would happen. I googled around a bit, found it on several Pinterest Fail sites, gathered the tips that people gave in the comments and went for it.

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The main issues seemed to be people putting the strawberries directly on the parchment paper or the pan itself, the heat being too high (so they burned), and not letting air flow through every half an hour or so. Armed with this knowledge, I gave it a shot, and took photos every half an hour.

Here we go!

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At the 2 hour mark, I decided to flip them over. This is also when I realized that they were probably never going to dry completely unless I left them in the oven for two to three days, but maybe they’re supposed to be mushy, slimy, and disgusting in the middle?

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So the last few hours of the process I decided that there was no point in taking any more photos, they looked pretty much the same.

I followed the instructions that I read online and turned off the oven, and left them overnight.

This morning, I pulled them out, spread them on the parchment paper and tasted one. It was not delicious. It was kind of sour (which isn’t a deal breaker), the texture was very strange, maybe if i’d made them paper thin slivers it would have worked better as a fruit leather type of thing, but at the end of the day, there’s a reason this is on a bunch of Pinterest Fail lists. And now, it’s on mine too.

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Breton Brittle

This is a sneak peek of the beauty that is Breton Brittle. It’s right after I poured the toffee over the Breton crackers.

It’s a snap to make, and unbelievably delicious.

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Apparently I was too distracted to take a photo of the final product, but it looks something like this »

Here’s the recipe!
*Edit: I also did a gluten-free version for my friends over at Sweet Grace & Co!

Breton Brittle

1 package Breton crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Line cookie sheet with heavy aluminum foil (over sides of pan). * Use jelly-roll pan. pan with sides. Layer crackers in pan, overlap.

Turn on oven at 400F.

Bring brown sugar and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan, boil for 20 secs. Pour over crackers. Bake at 400 F for 5 mins.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips, let them melt. Spread chocolate with a spoon (wet spoon first).

Leave overnight in the fridge. Break apart into pieces. Freezes well.